Carmel Boys Team after their win
Cold weather and fast racing. That was the recipe for Saturday's IHSAA 2017 Cross Country State finals.
The boys took off first, so let's dive right into their
race. Gabe Fendel looked strong and decided to gap the lead pack right from the
get go, giving just a few meters of space between him and the pack before the
first mile. The surprise winter type temperatures, got to him though and he
held back and stayed with the pack for a good part of the rest of the race.
With just about a K to go though, he pushed and began to surge a little. Cole
Hocker followed right with him and so did Skylar Stidam. These three brought it
home, down the grueling 400 meter straightaway towards the finish. Fendel continued
to push and find another gear. He seemed a little nervous though, looking over
his shoulder multiple times to see where Hocker and Stidam were at. After his
final look back, he just gave it that final push to secure the win. Fendel
crossed the line in 15:17.2 officially, to finally earn a state title in cross
country and just his 2nd title in both cross and track.
Hocker took 2nd just 2 seconds behind, Stidam 3rd in 15:23.
The team race was a tight one throughout, between Carmel, Fishers and Westview. Carmel still managed to pull it off, scoring 94 points.
Fishers ran a strong race, led by Sam Kuhn and Ethan Myers. The Tigers have had a top notch season this year and hopefully this isn't the last time we see them make it on the podium.
Westview became the most dominate school from the region. Looking way ahead to next season they look to be the group to beat out of that area. With 4 of their 7 returning, we'll have to watch their JV squad to see who can step up and fill those 3 big holes. Saturday, with Yoder and Stoltzfus leading the team they scored 171 points and their 5-6 crossed together in 16:36.
Zionsville Girls team with their team trophy
In the boys' race, we all knew Carmel was a lock for the win, but the girls race played out differently. With four teams looking like they could nab the team title, Brebeuf, Carmel, Zionsville and FW Carroll. Even the individual race was up for grabs, with a battle heating up between returning champ Tyler Schwartz and Greencastle Junior Emma Wilson.
Schwartz took the early lead, giving herself a little room between her and the pack. Then come around to the roughly 2 mile mark, and Wilson is right on her heels, trying to find the right time to move. They raced side-by-side for just over 1,000 meters. At the 4K Wilson took over and began to do her thing, running pretty much solo. Schwartz had now dropped a little, still right there fighting for the win. Wilson had a big enough lead though to take the win in 17:45.9. Out of nowhere Phoebe Bates found another level and passed up Schwartz to take 2nd in 18-flat. Schwartz finished 3rd in 18:07.
In the team battle, just 78 points separated 1st and 4th. But let's start with 5th and 6th place, Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers. These two schools are from the same school district out in Hamilton County. They finished 1 point apart from each other, with the Lady Royals of HSE earning that 5th place spot.
In 4th, we had a team that their only goal coming into the season was to qualify for the state meet for the first time in school history. Quickly they earned a top 5 ranking in the IATCCC polls throughout the season, and even on paper looked to be the team who would WIN the state title. The lady Braves of Brebeuf Jesuit, more than earned that 4th place spot. This year they were led by Senior Katherine Modrall, who finished 4th individually as well. They are a young team so with this state experience under them now, expect them to be an even bigger contender next season.
3rd place, the team that has been dominate for the past few years, the Carmel Greyhounds. These ladies were in a little bit of an off year, but an off year for Carmel is still an amazing season. Their #5 finished in 19:26, on the coldest day of the season. They'll be back to Lavern in a couple weeks to compete at NXR and hope for a spot in the NXN in Portland, OR where they were 4th in the Nation.
2nd, the team that early in the season looked to be a lock for the title, FW Carroll. Unfortunately these ladies got plagued with injury galore. First, their top girl Abby Green got injured with a broken bone in her foot, and still remains on crutches. Then came Meghan Hathaway was injured for a few weeks there, but came back and was able to run an 18:37 at state. Finally, star freshman Zoe Duffus got injured and missed regionals and semi-state, but was able to race at state, and finished 5th for the Chargers in 19:05, her slowest time of the season. Hopefully this break time between the end of season and track training beginning will be helpful to allow these girls to heal up some. Next season if all goes well they will be a dominant group again.
And finally, your 2017 State Champs, the Eagles of Zionsville. This was the first win for Zionsville at state. This season the Lady Eagles, have been on another level than before. All 7 of their runners, finished in under 20 minutes. Big upset from these girls, pretty much no one predicted them to finish first. They were a major contender going in but it was always in everyone's mind that FW Carroll or Brebeuf would take the win. This group has been amazing this season and it'll be great to watch what they do in track with this momentum.
The 2017 State meet was full of surprises on both the boys and girls side. If this is just the beginning of the 2017-2018 season, what will happen come track season, or even sooner with Nike or Footlocker. Stay tuned to find out.